Chinchilla Color and Fur Mutations

Chinchilla Color and Fur Mutations

Below are tables detailing most, but not all, known chinchilla color and fur mutations.

Of note, the Wilson White and Gunning Black Velvet are 'lethal factor' genes, meaning they cannot exist in the homozygous form. Thus there are no known homozygous Wilson White or homozygous Gunning Black Velvet chinchillas. Breeding two Wilson Whites or Wilson White hybrids together will result in 25% fewer offspring than anticipated. Likewise, breeding two Gunning Black Velvet or Gunning Black Velvet (TOV) hybrids together will also result in 25 percent fewer offspring than anticipated.

The Wilson White gene is also an incomplete dominant, meaning it does not express compete dominance or coverage in the phenotype. The underlying color can 'bleed through' in a variety of ways. The Wilson White gene can produce predominantly whites, white mosaics, or silvers, all being heterozygous Wilson White. The differences in phenotype are due to differences in gene expressions. Wilson White chinchillas are subjectively classified as follows:

  • Predominantly White chinchillas - range from nearly all white to white with a light distribution of dark guard hair
  • White Mosaics chinchillas - include spotted and piebald appearing chinchillas
  • Silver chinchillas - have an evenly distributed grey veiling tip and dark guard hair, giving these chinchillas a smooth silver-grey appearance

The Tower Beige gene is the only true dominant chinchilla color mutation gene that can exist in the homozygous form. All chinchillas with the Tower Beige gene, whether heterozygous or homozygous, or a hybrid such as tan, TOV beige, pink white, etc… will have red eyes. Heterozygous beige chinchillas tend to have darker red eyes, and homozygous beige chinchillas tend to have lighter red to pink eyes. Red eyes associated with the Tower Beige gene are not an indication of albinism.


Dominant Mutation Name Year Breeder and Location
Wilson White
(lethal factor / heterozygous only incomplete dominant)
1955 Blythe Wilson, Redding, CA, USA
Tower Beige
(dark eyes)
1960 Nick Tower, USA
Gunning Black
(lethal factor / heterozygous only dominant)
1960-1961 Robert Gunning, Davenport, WA, USA
Busse 1962 Angle Ranch
Tasco 1964 Otto Munn, TX, USA
French Blue 1970 Jack French, KS, USA


Recessive Mutation Name Year Breeder and Location
Wellman Beige
(dark eyes)
Rzewski Beige
(dark eyes)
1958 Poland
Albino 1960+
Long Hair / Angora early 1960's Dr Caraway, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Recessive Beige
(red eyes)
1960's L Sullivan & CJ Reynolds
Charcoal   Betty Broucke, CA, USA
Wes Olson, CA, USA
R Somavia, CA, USA
W Pohl, CA, USA
T Ready, CA, USA
Treadwell Black 1962-1963 Fort Worth, TX, USA
(Curly Brown Charcoal)
1963 Lloyd Sakrison, MN, USA
Stone White 1963 Paul Stone, OK, USA
Larsen Sapphire 1963-1965 Merle Larsen, IN, USA
African Violet
Sullivan Violet
1967 Rhodesia, South Africa
Sullivan, CA, USA
Young Lavender-Brown 1969 Bobby Young, Bartlesville, OK, USA
Lester Black
(Midwest City Black)
1970 MW Lester, Midwest City, OK, USA
Goldbar *1989-1990 Bob and June Baar, CA, USA
True Dwarf 1990's Pete and Sue Kiseskey, CA, USA
Black Pearl 2007 Thomas and Elzbieta Kucharczak, Poland


Unspecified Mutation Name Year Breeder and Location
Fading White early 1990's Doug Wilson, Lee's Summit, MO, USA
Curly / Locken 2000's Germany

Some data reproduced courtesy of the MCBA Archives. Includes subsequent amendments.